Cladding Crisis: Our summary of Michael Gove’s Updates
On 10th January, Michael Gove addressed the Commons to discuss the ongoing issues surrounding cladding remediation.
Until this update, the focus had been purely residential buildings above 18 metres. However, there has been increasing confusion throughout the industry regarding buildings between 11 metres and 18 metres. Whilst the Government position was clear that only buildings above 18 metres would be considered, the government came under increasing pressure from MPs and lobby groups to review the position and reconsider how buildings between 11 metres and 18 metres should be addressed. Lenders insisted on EWS1 forms for lower-rise buildings, resulting in increased insurance premiums and leaseholders being unable to re-mortgage or sell their properties. These issues echoed those experienced by the leaseholders in high rise buildings, which led to the formation of the ACM and BSF funding.
Mr Gove’s announcement on Monday to the Commons will be welcome news to leaseholders of buildings between 11m and 18m that we subject to an unsatisfactory EWS1 rating. The speech is summarised as follows.
- Mr Gove reiterated the Government’s commitment to remediate unsafe cladding and stated that leaseholders will not be responsible for the financial burden of removal of cladding.
- Buildings above 18m will continue to apply for remediation via the BSF cladding remediation fund.
- Buildings between 11m and 18m will be assessed using a risk-based approach. Buildings will be considered holistically and only those buildings with insufficient fire safety measures will be required to remove and replace cladding and external wall systems. The Consolidated Advice Note has been scrapped and will be replaced with updated advice. The Government will indemnify building surveyors and fire risk surveyors to ensure that they have sufficient protection to assess the building based on risk.
- Mr Gove issued a deadline to developers to produce a plan to pay for the works to remediate buildings up to £4 billion. The plan must be submitted prior to Easter. Only developers with a profit of £10 million will be required to contribute to the fund.
- A further £27 million will be made available to replace waking watch patrols with fire alarms.
At this point, the following information is not known.
- When the updated advice will be issued and what form it will take.
- How remediation will be paid for in those buildings where the developer does not meet the eligibility criteria to contribute to the fund, or the developer is no longer trading.
- Will the eligible developers be required to contribute to a fund held by the government, which eligible buildings can apply for in the same way as the ACM and BSF fund was managed.
We are continuing to work with the BSF on current cladding remediation projects and will be able to update on the outstanding points as and when more information becomes available.
If you are a leaseholder, or in any way responsible for buildings above 11 metres with ACM or Non-ACM cladding, we are available to discuss the various funding opportunities available.